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€‹Dionisio Martí­nez de Velasco

SPAIN - Health & Education

Dionisio Martinez de Velasco

Managing Director, Dräger in Iberia


Dionisio Martí­nez de Velasco is Managing Director of Dräger in Iberia, leading the business of the medical and safety divisions for Spain and Portugal. He began his career at Dräger in 1997, and since then has been assuming senior management responsibilities internationally in the group, both in emerging and developed markets. In addition, he has developed the direct and indirect channel business in different countries of Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe.

"We have managed to maintain the supply chain of products for health institutions throughout a challenging year."

Dräger is a family-owned company, founded in Germany in 1889, and has been present in Spain for 45 years. How would you describe its evolution and what are its local milestones?

Dräger is a family business, which is managed by the fifth generation and has always actively developed German equipment related to air. We have more than 14,500 employees, and a revenue of EUR2.5 billion per year. We are present in over 190 countries, with 60 subsidiaries, all of which are owned by our group. In Spain we have been present for more than 45 years, and have nearly of 400 employees today, supplying to the healthcare and hospital sectors. We also have a presence in the industrial sector and provide services for police and law enforcement authorities. We manufacture gas detection systems and protective equipment for firefighters, including face masks and helmets, among others.

The company has been a reference during the pandemic. At first, Germany donated equipment to the Spanish government, which you installed in record time. Here you have maintained the operation of over 140,000 assets in hospitals in Spain and Portugal. What has been the impact of the pandemic on Dräger?

Our claim is “Technology for life,” and indeed our work serves to demonstrate that it does indeed work to saves lives. There has not been a single employee in the company at a global level who has not been focused on ensuring that hospitals receive their ventilators and other required products. Indeed, we have managed to maintain the supply chain of products for health institutions throughout a challenging year. Since the start of the pandemic, we sought to sell more protection equipment and supplied-air respirator machines and face masks. The virus spread rapidly throughout the whole globe, and the company successfully multiplied fourfold its manufacturing capacity to supply the products that each country needed. In this subsidiary, we addressed Spain as a company priority due to the situation. We also helped Germany and Spain to reach a bilateral agreement for the donation of certain of our products.

Your revenues rose by 7% in the first quarter of 2020. How did 2020 end in terms of revenues?

We still do not have all the 2020 figures. We are preparing the finances of the subsidiary and the group. In Spain we have two separate companies. One is dedicated to industrial protection and law enforcement agencies. Our company has been impacted by the effects of the pandemic. Industrial production has slowed down, so we were somewhat impacted as well.

Dräger manufactures ventilators, monitors and respirators, in fact, they invented the first respirator in 1907. How do you break down your products and what are the best-selling items?

We have two divisions: one is the medical division, which provides technical solutions in critical areas of hospitals. These are for intensive care units and surgery rooms, for example. In this critical area we have incubators and ventilators, among others. This division represents about 60% of our sales. In addition to that, we have the safety division, which is focused on solutions for law enforcement agencies and industrial sector. This division also helps emergency services and industrial companies. In this division, we offer detectors to measure gas levels to mitigate risks. Gas measurement is one of the main areas in which we provide significant value. We also offer drug detection tests for the traffic authorities. We enjoy solid relations in Spain with the traffic agency, the DGT. We also offer products for ambulances and firefighters. We sell individual protection items traditionally aimed at the industrial sector, but where because of the pandemic we have seen a rise in the demand from hospitals.

What is your client portfolio?

In Spain, 60% of hospitals are public. In the industrial sector we have city halls, autonomous communities and central government for services including firefighting and the police. We gather these services under the umbrella of law enforcement authorities. Our industrial sales are 40% to public administrations, and 60% to private companies.

What’s the importance of R&D for the company?

It is vital, and our four strategic areas are innovation, quality, clients, and employees. As a result, innovation is among our most important areas. We do not invest in R&D in Spain, because we simply provide products and services.

Are you intending to manufacture in Spain?

We have increased our face mask production in the US, UK, and France. As a Spaniard, I’d love to be able to bring this production capacity to Spain. This would help the country have a greater response for future emergencies. It would also help the Spanish market and the economy as a whole.

Can you explain your social corporate responsibility during the pandemic with IFEMA and the Madrid City Hall?

We offered our services to the authority as soon as the pandemic started, ultimately supplying over 100 supplied-air respirator machines, while providing a few solutions that have been a great success. When the pandemic started, society at large was frightened at the prospect. But we continued supplying front-line workers services at hospitals.

What’s your vision on the health sector and the main challenges it faces?

In 2020 the unfortunate flaws of the Spanish health sector became apparent, to include a lack of investment in human and material resources. I think that in 2021 we are at the right moment to re-evaluate the situation and see how EU funds might better be deployed towards an improved service.

What’s your main priority for 2021?

Our main goal has always been to save lives always focused on our technology for live, and we will continue with doing so. Another priority is to keep supporting Spain’s health sector, which includes a project to manufacture filtering face masks in our country. I believe that we are an example in our sector in Spain and specially the pandemic has shown that we have the capacity and know-how to respond to such challenges.



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